One year after discovering her husband's cheating messages, Jessi turned her fears of being a single mom into her own single mom success story.
I sat on the couch, my two dogs lounging across my lap. My three children played in the background, while I watched the six o’clock news, simultaneously scrolling Facebook.
My husband sat next to me, eyes glued to his phone watching a game online.
Blip blip. I received a text from my cousin. “Hey, who’s the woman messaging your hubby on Instagram. She’s all over his Instagram account?"
I couldn’t resist a quick look at his Instagram account.
As I tapped through, I whispered to myself, “No way. There’s no way, he would be cheating with another woman. We’d been married eight years, three kids. Our marriage was solid, wasn’t it? I had nothing to be suspicious of. No, it’s nothing.”
Oh my god! I saw the message.
It was like a sledgehammer smashing against my chest. I kept scrolling. I kept scrolling through one message after the next - a whole string of private messages between him and two other women.
The hammer sledged harder, only this time it was tearing through the flesh of my heart.
I flicked over to his Facebook account. Oh my god! More messages between him and even more women.
I groaned out loud. Tears spilled out, running down my cheeks. My head pounded in rhythm with my heart and I couldn’t think straight. Fury hit. My anger was as red and raw as the blood pumping through my veins.
How could he do this?
I looked across at him, I threw my phone at him with as much power as a hammer thrower in the Olympics. The corner of my phone hit him right in the chest and he looked up from his phone. Our eyes met. Immediately, I knew he knew, and he knew I knew.
No more words needed. I turned toward the front door. He blocked me, “No, no Jessi, you’ve got it wrong. He tried again to block me with his arm, so I couldn’t leave.
I turned, walked out the back door, got in my car and drove until I found myself outside a Sonic. I sat in the parking lot eating ice-cream and crying for over four hours.
No way. There’s no way, he would be cheating with another woman. We’d been married eight years, three kids.
I never imagined I'd be a single mom
What could I do? I had built this life with a man I loved. I had three children with him. I was home-schooling our kids. I had put everything into this family. My world was crashing in on me. The thought of raising our three kids on my own was terrifying. No, not me! This couldn’t be happening to me. But it was.
The next day, I left my husband. I packed up my kids and we stayed in a hotel for three days. I had zero intention of returning.
For a whole day, I didn’t eat anything. I couldn’t even drink water. When I finally forced food down my throat I started throwing up.
I got up from the toilet bowl and stumbled over to the basin to wash my face. Who was that woman in the mirror? How could she take care of three kids alone? You’re not strong enough. What are you thinking? How can you support your children alone? You’ll lose the house. Just go home. Do it for them. If you had been a good wife, he wouldn’t have cheated. Just go home, try and work it out. My inner voice tormented me.
Within two days I returned to him.
Over the next month I lost roughly 20 lbs. I was depressed and I felt worthless. I slacked at my management job at a local spa. I ended up losing my job. I questioned my existence as a wife and mother. I beat myself up with the same old words “Why would he cheat if I had been the perfect wife.”
I questioned my existence as a wife and mother. I beat myself up with the same old words “Why would he cheat if I had been the perfect wife.”
ONE YEAR LATER ...
I discovered more messages on his phone – like before.
But this time, I was different. A beast awoke from inside me. The beast knew my husband’s actions weren’t about me. He was the one with the problems. Regardless of what type of wife I had been, he would have cheated, no matter what.
“No, I’m not taking this anymore.” I said to myself. I was a leader, not a follower and I refused to live as my husband’s little toy another day. I had to come up with a plan for something better for me and my children. I just didn’t know what or how.
That afternoon, I drove past a sign that said …
“Space Available for RENT”
I whipped my car into the parking lot. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I dialed the phone number. A guy answered …
“Hi, this is Brent, how can I help you?”
“Ah. Ah. That space available for rent. Which unit is it? How soon can I see it?”
I wasn’t sure what I was doing. But Brent agreed to meet me right then. What did I have to lose?
The unit was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. The space had maroon and grey walls with gold stamping EVERYWHERE. There was an outdated, elephant design border on the walls and to make things worse, spiderwebs adorned every corner. I loathe spiders.
Brent asked what I wanted to do. I blurted out, “A Salon” (even though I had been a spa girl for eight years). Brent looked at me surprised. He walked over to the corner and pulled the wall apart. He said, “Hmmm this was a salon several years ago.” He showed me where the shampoo bowls were connected.
It was kismet.
I signed a five-year contract on the spot. Brent waived my deposit without me even asking. I think he was just so shocked I took the unit since it had been empty for years and was super gross.
I worked every single day for two weeks; painting and laying new flooring. I felt everything against me. But I had to succeed. I had no other option.
The month I opened my salon I made $77. Which ‘proved’ to my ex my business would be a failure. But I kept going. I worked so hard trying to getting my business off the ground.
I was alone in my venture, until someone did something very special to help me, and I will never forget her kindness.
A friend’s mother watched me work day and night to open my business. She saw the hours I was doing. How I had been taking my youngest child to work with me, just so I could get clients in the door. She stepped in and helped me pay for day care so I could work without distraction. I am so thankful to this day.
The next month, I made a profit. I didn’t just break even. I flipping made a profit.
This was sooo going to work. At that point, I hadn’t thought about expanding or hiring staff. I just needed to get by on my own. I wanted a small salon that was quaint and cozy. I wanted it to be somewhere other women could come and relax and get away from whatever they needed to be away from. I wanted it to be real. A place where you could come and be yourself. I wanted my salon to be a place of respite. The kind of place I had needed in the year gone past.
Turning my terrible circumstances into a single mom success story
The more I worked, the more I realized so many people needed a hair fix. Their color wasn’t right. Their cuts were messed up. Their color and cut were both messed up. Women all over town had been to salons and not felt comfortable, they felt like they couldn’t be themselves or they felt like the stylist thought they were better than their clients. They left these salons saying they hadn’t received anything they had wanted.
In under one year, I was booked solid. I was so booked; I hired an employee to cope with the demand. Then a front desk person because I couldn’t keep up with the phone calls, and now a massage therapist who is steadily getting booked. Currently I have five hairstylists, three massage therapists, one esthetician, two receptionist and a salon manager.
That ugly little corner unit is now a beautiful and bright salon with updated stations and white walls. We have a fully stocked color bar with just about any color your heart could want. Plus, an entire retail area.
I am a single mom to three amazing kids. I employ twelve people who all make a living working for me. I literally provide income for twelve families plus myself! How cool is that?!
I am a boss babe who is in charge of her future. I own my own house.
The first big thing I did to celebrate my success was to rent a condo on the beach for five days. It was the most fun vacation we had ever had.
My children are happy and well cared for. They know what love is and how you do and don’t treat people. I am loving life and living life to the fullest!
Did I ever feel like giving up? Yes, I felt like giving up all the time. But I knew if I kept going, if I kept working hard, I could make it through. And in doing so, I was also helping others on their journeys.
I have met many other women coping with divorce and the feelings of worthlessness that go with it. I know how they feel. And because of my own struggles, I want to help others feel good about themselves. I want them to know how beautiful they are.
I want show other single mothers, they can, without a man! You are your own destiny. You create it. Work hard and reap the benefits. Live a life you love.